September 21st, 2010
02:52 PM ET

The science behind Moses and the parting of the sea

An illustration based on new research shows how wind could have moved and
split waters from two ancient basins.

The parting of the waters described in the book of Exodus that enabled Moses and the Israelites to escape the pharaoh's army is possible, computer simulations run by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado at Boulder show.

To test the theory that the biblical account may have depicted actual events, the researchers studied maps of the region, archaeological records and satellite measurements to find a topographical feature where such an event might have been possible. They settled on an area south of the Mediterranean Sea where some oceanographers say a branch of the Nile River drained into what was called the Lake of Tanis, a coastal lagoon 3,000 years ago.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Culture & Science • Moses • Science

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Iqbal Khan


    September 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I have heard it said, that grown men cry when they hear the words of the Quran in Arabic. I can see why.

      Really beautiful.

      September 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Iqbal Khan

    Call for prayer

    September 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I admit, the call to prayer is beautiful.

      September 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  3. Mark from Middle River

    The wild thing, and I hate to burst you atheist's bubble but the fundamentalist and many Christians chances are will not latch onto this article. Truthfully I figured it would be you guys that would grab onto this article. I think that's why there are not any Christian responces.

    Vote Republican dudes. Don't let the liberals continue to use you like they have.

    September 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
    • Kate

      @Mark from Middle River

      Actually, I thought there's be a dearth of responses from Christians because the whole thing has them laughing so hard.

      Talk about a theory in need of an example!

      Just laughin'

      September 22, 2010 at 9:09 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Talk about a theory in need of an example!"

      Yes! Good to see you still have a sharp mind, after your absence.

      No one has ever reported this phenomenon as actually happening. If it happened, I think someone would find it odd, and report it. So it's not an everyday occurrence.

      Fundies will say: God caused it to happen. It only did it once.

      My thought: If God is all powerful and if we are accepting the miraculous, then who cares what science says could or could not have happened? God can miracle anything to happen. This is a matter of belief. A matter of faith.

      If the experiment had failed and the water could not be parted by the wind, it would have proven nothing.

      There is a finite amount of research money. I think it is a waste to spend any of it, trying to determine if a biblical miracle could have occurred. If there is a god, then yes, any miracle could occur.

      If you tell me a miracle has occurred, can I look for an alternate explanation? Can I ask for evidence? You bet, to both questions. I think it is our duty to do so.

      It is good that science looks at biblical myths and determines if there is any evidence to support them. This is not the same as seeing if a miracle could have occurred.

      A miracle, just by definition is supernatural. Science can't speak to the supernatural.

      Science should be busy discovering the "why" of things. One day, science may find that a "why" can only be answered by "god did it". That day, I will embrace religion.

      This experiment was a waste of money.

      September 22, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  4. HotAirAce

    This is no big deal! It's obvious that wind and tides can pile up water – it's a very observable phenomena called "storm surge." The real questions are (if we assume that Moses and the basic exodus story is real for a moment – only a moment 'cause I do *not* believe!) did a parting occur at exactly the time Moses needed it and was it caused by God? The article does not provide answers to these questions, but if you have *blind faith*, you have the only answer you need... NOT!

    September 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  5. Colin

    It is pleasing to me to see 100% of the comments before mine are debasing this stupid crap article.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • SomeTruth

      The fundies are all on the main article board...

      September 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  6. Big Joe

    Now that scientists offer yet another theory on the parting, archeologist have oddly not found any trace of Moses and his 40,000 followers who traveled the Sinai for decades. Once again another biblical myth/fable (whose origins may not even be from the Levant) we're desparately trying to prove and pass on as a real event.

    September 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You are totally right about that. But the fundies ignore little things like that.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
    • Truth Frees

      Look up the definition of theory.

      Secondly, just because something hasn't been found yet doesn't mean it hasn't happened. I'm surprised you'd even say that, especially after all the evidence in the water.

      September 25, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
  7. Rex Mcbeth

    The sea was parted with natural electromagnetism. Water is polarized and somehow quadrillions of positive charged water molecules repelled each other like many positive poles on magnets. Heh. I suspect moses staff was struck by lightning.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  8. nope.avi

    Sure wish this was a joke. I really, really do. Christians are gonna eat this up too. Oh wow it's sooo real I knew I was right.

    And then the other half of christians will realize wow this sounds really stupid and isn't real.

    The killer part? They will know better, yet STILL CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN. They will refute this obvious fake story yet still believe it's the undisputed word of god and go with every other story in the bible. That's the real slayer for me. They will know better, then still walk blindly into it. Outstanding cult following, in all seriousness.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Truth Frees

      Eat up a scientific finding that doesn't go your blind way? Of course, after all, many of the most brilliant minds in the world have been Christians. Only a fool would say this isn't real with this evidence.

      September 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  9. David Johnson

    The Republicans will destroy this country.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Big Joe

      You mean those that have corrupted/hijacked the party, one such group are the neocons.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • Big Joe

      ....those that have corrupted/hijacked the GOP, chiefly the neocons.

      September 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mike

      This is why I can't take you seriously. why do you blame a party when 3 of the dems really messed the vote and the whole dem party for that fact I mean they can even convince one person to vote there way. That is all they needed.

      September 22, 2010 at 8:06 am |
    • Frogist

      @David Johnson: Yes, I was very upset about the DADT vote yesterday. And to hear someone call equal rights just another liberal agenda tactic was disturbing indeed.
      @Mike: umm 2 dems vs all republicans? And that's why you condemn the democrats for messing up the vote? That seems a bit of screwy logic there.

      September 22, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  10. David Johnson

    It is not a good day for progressives. The don't ask, don't tell repeal has been defeated.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  11. David Johnson

    You know the sad part? There will be fundies that will claim this as evidence for the bible being the inerrant word of god.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  12. interesting

    Or you could just test it by asking jesus to do it AGAIN. OH WAIT A MINUTE, HE'S NOT REAL


    the USA has so many problems going on, and we're testing out if a fairy tale could've been real? I'm really proud of other countries for getting over this foolishness so soon, I only wish we could catch up and grow up. s.i.g.h.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
    • allen m

      At the moment of your death you will know you were wrong . When satan takes your sole to that place of unspeakable and unending pain and sorrow. i would rather believe in Christ Jesus and be wrong than not believe in the salvation offered by Christ and be wrong.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
    • Critter

      @allen m ...again..

      You would rather be wrong about something THAT important???? Are you a chuffing tw-at? No....don't tell me....I think I've figured it out...


      September 22, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  13. Statler

    Exuse me what?

    September 21, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  14. HAHA

    Lets see, Harry Potter is 'of the devil' (whatever that means) but we have some epic wizard running around the desert conjuring winds and casting spells. Good job.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  15. Jesus is a fool

    This is absolutely a waste. Trying to prove talking snakes, transformation, witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy / corpse reanimation, and wind-wizardry.. through science, for the bible.

    Good luck, guys. have a blast with that. Gonna go live back in the 'real world' now while you dwell on your Jesus Harry Potter crap.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • allen m

      At the moment of your death you will know you were wrong . When satan takes your sole to that place of unspeakable and unending pain and sorrow. i would rather believe in Christ Jesus and be wrong than not believe in the salvation offered by Christ and be wrong.

      i sure would hate to be you on your judgment day for publicly denounceing our Lord and Savior

      September 21, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • Critter

      @allen m

      Damnation makes NO sense whatsoever....and neither does HeII. Not a bit of sense AT ALL. God should also be the God of Logic, so if these things are not logical, then either God does not exist or you have definite misconceptions about the true nature of your "God".
      Now wishing you there might be handy...but I have already refuted your "judgement" of your fellow human being...oh, wait, were you even supposed to be doing that???

      September 22, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • Toby

      I denounce all gods, goddesses, deities, Holy Spirits, take your pick. To tell someone that he/she will be sorry one day because they will burn or suffer punishment for not thinking like you do is not only immoral and unethical, it is inhuman and disgusting. Thankfully, all evidence regarding this Hell, Heaven, Jesus, is very poor or simply not there.

      September 22, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
    • chris m

      Even if you don't believe- God loves you anyway. When you are in trouble call on Him. He will prove Himself in your life.

      Keep in mind. One day Every knee will bow and confess the Name of Jesus.

      September 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • Brown


      September 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  16. SORCERY!

    fukkin magnets, how do they work?

    September 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
  17. so

    so moses part the sea by summoning 63 mph wind to push.. water.. out of the way like that..

    yet they were all able to just waltz around.

    If Moses is a freakin ARCH-WIZARD he should've summoned the super-powered wind to just PUSH THEIR ENEMIES AWAY FROM THEM

    stupidity to the max, no christians should EVER be allowed to try and explain science this way. bum, freakin, stupid

    September 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm |
    • Wow


      "...and their flatulence will part the seas..."

      September 22, 2010 at 12:30 am |
    • Brown

      No, Moses didn't part the sea, God did!

      September 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  18. WHAT




    September 21, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • Brown

      No, but God does....lol lol lol

      September 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  19. cat

    Science. Parting the sea.


    September 21, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Brown

      Wisdom is power!

      September 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  20. peace2all

    At the end of the article.....It says...(paraphrasing here)...'It basically shows that this kind of phenomenon does have some physical basis.'

    Still does not prove that this whole parting of the 'red sea' event is a proven fact that 'actually' occurred in history.


    September 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
    • Brown

      I'd say Exodus 13:17-14:31 is pretty historical......What you guys seem to miss is science is just now catching up with what was written over 4000 years ago.

      September 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.